Monday, May 17, 2010

Below the surface

I read a part of a book once by Dr. Tim Elmore called "Habitudes: Images That Form Leadership Habits & Attitudes." At the very beginning of the book Elmore talks about how leadership is like an iceberg. We see only the 10% of the iceberg that is above water, but what makes up a vast majority of the iceberg is the 90% that sits beneath the surface of the chilly waters. I've always liked this illustration and living in Florida has caused me to see this illustration in a different way.

The day we moved to Florida I began looking in every pond, lake and river that we drive by looking for gators. To be completely honest gators give me the heeby jeebies, but they're amazingly powerful creatures. The other day I was driving to work at the church and I looked over in the water and saw the head of a gator sticking out just above the surface. For you native-Floridians (if there really are any since everyone introduces themselves to you with their name and where they're originally from) gators are nothing and you probably think I'm crazy for looking for them every chance I get, but seriously nothing freaks me out more than seeing a gator floating just above the water and then a second later it disappearing below the surface. My mind flips over to think about how at any second the gator is going to leap out of the water and pull me out of the car and into the murky water.

I see gators as being similar to Elmore's illustration in the fact that sometimes people choose to get in to the water despite the fact of knowing these creatures reside in the water. We walked with our dogs along Lake Hollingsworth yesterday afternoon watching people play on the water and I kept thinking how crazy it was. I do understand that gators are usually afraid of people and also barely venture out to deep waters where people play in the water, but still just being in the same water as these wild creatures is too crazy for me. Why would I put myself in a place where I know I'm vulnerable and defenseless? Why would I let myself get into a place where I know I'm at a disadvantage?

Many times we put ourselves in places, in positions or around people that are going to bring out the worst in us. You wouldn't suggest for a recovering alcoholic to hang out in a bar or a drug addict to remain close to his dealer, so why do we put ourselves in positions where we know we're going to fail?

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